The curtain falls on the 2022 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS season next weekend (September 30 – October 2) when the three-hour Endurance Cup race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will decide the championship’s final battles.
There is still plenty to fight for, as the series visits the 4.7km Spanish circuit every year. The overall Fanatec GT Endurance Team and Driver Championship is up for grabs, while class honors and a number of combined titles will also be decided when the checkered flag drops on Sunday afternoon.
A field of 49 cars will contest the long-distance event, which marks the end of the 10-round championship that started almost six months ago at Imola. The storylines that began in Italy will be resolved in Spain, bringing to a close another intense competitive campaign for Fanatec GT Endurance.
Akkodis ASP and Iron Lynx battle it out for top tier titles
Once again, the battle for the overall Fanatec GT Endurance Drivers’ title goes down to the wire. It could all have been decided last time out at Hockenheim, but the result was deadlocked as both leading rivals failed to score.
In fact, there has been a significant development on the German circuit. While five crews arrived mathematically in contention for the title, only two remain in the hunt heading into the decider. Akkodis ASP leads the #88 Mercedes-AMG crew of Marcello/Gounon/Huncadela with 79 points. Having won at this circuit in 2017 and 2021, the French team must be considered favorites to add to the championship glory of their victory at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa.
But don’t rule out Iron Lynx. The Italian team has been consistently quick this season, with the #71 Ferrari of Rigon/Fuoc/Serra just 11 points behind the Barcelona event. If there’s a silver lining to not scoring at Hockenheim, it’s that the returning Daniel Serra can still challenge for the title with his teammates after missing the trip to Germany.
There are more contenders in the team championship, although Akkodis ASP have a 16-point advantage over Iron Lynx in this classification. ROWE Racing is 25 points behind, while Team WRT is 26 points behind. There are 26 people up for grabs in the final, so it’s very difficult for ROWE or WRT to capture the crown.
Among the outfits vying for the title, Akkodis ASP alone run one Pro car. Iron Lynx will have its support from the No. 51 Ferrari of Nielsen/Calado/Molina, although the team hopes to avoid a repeat of contact between its cars at Hockenheim. ROWE Racing can count on the #50 of Harper/Hesse/Verhagen and the #98 of Farfus/Yelloly/Eng, with the latter having a driver change in the finale with two-time TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa winner Philippe Eng replacing Nick Catsburg.
Team WRT usually field two Pro cars, with the #32 Audi of Vanthoor/Weerts/Van der Line joined by the #46 of Vervisch/Müller/Rossi. The Belgian team is still in contention for the overall Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS team title, trailing Akkodis ASP by 16 before the final. Significantly, this will be WRT’s last outing with Audi engineering, ending a 12-year partnership that has seen the team prove to be the most successful in the series.
Audi dominated last time out at Hockenheim, with junior team Saintéloc ending a five-year wait to return to the top thanks to their No. 25 Mies/Niederhauser/Legeret trio. Second place in Germany went to Attempto Racing, who kept their Winkelhock/Marshall/Schram crew in #66. Tresor by Car Collection could make it an Audi, but not a late puncture and he will be looking to recover with the No. 12 Haase/Drudi/Ghiotto crew.
AMG Team GetSpeed adds a second Mercedes-AMG to the Pro ranks for the Engel/Stolz/Shothorst trio. Porsche claimed its first overall podium of the campaign last time out thanks to Dinamic Motorsport, who retained the Bachler/Cairoli/Piccariello trio in their #54 car.
In contrast, Hockenheim was not kind to the McLaren teams. JP Motorsport worked well early on but their charge was halted by technical gremlins. The No. 111 entry features the strong rider combination of Klin/Abril/Lind and hopes to rediscover the form that brought fifth place at Imola. JOTA, whose No. 38 was eliminated by a heavy first-lap crash at Hockenheim, ends the season with its Bell/Kirchhoefer/Wilkinson crew.
A pair of fifth places was the highlight of the season for leading Lamborghini team Emil Frey Racing. The Swiss team will be looking to improve on that at a track where the Huracán has always driven well, with Bartolotti/Costa/Aitken in the #63 car and Altoë/Rougier/Roussel sharing the #19. They complete a highly competitive field of 16 professional runners set to compete in the 2022 season finale.
The flourishing Silver Cup concludes with a field of 18 cars
The Fanatec GT Endurance Silver Cup titles were decided in Hockenheim. The winner of the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, the WRT team, is unquestioned in the championship, while its No. 30 Audi crew of Jean-Baptiste Simenauer, Thomas Neubauer and Benji Goethe took the drivers’ crown. The latter duo subsequently added the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Silver Cup drivers’ title, so Spain will aim to secure the combined WRT Championship.
The only squad that can stop them is Attempto Racing. Audi’s second-placed team is 22 points adrift of the finals, meaning the title could be up for grabs in Saturday’s Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series. Team WRT has the second car in the Silver Cup in contention with the #31 Menczak/Proctor/Hutchison, while the Audi Silver Cup is also represented by the junior team Saintéloc (Panis/Gazeau/Baert) and Tresor by Car Collection ( Vermeulen/Patrese/H .Valent).
After dominating the Silver Cup in 2021, Emil Frey Racing took their first class win of the current campaign in brilliant style at Hockenheim. The #14 Lamborghini led throughout the three-hour event and will look to do the same with the White/Lappalainen/Tujala line-up.
Fellow Lamborghini Leipert Motorsport team kept the Leitch/Owego/Tutumlu Lopez line-up unchanged for the trip to Barcelona, while Barwell Motorsport changed their crew for the finale. Full-season driver Alex McDowall is joined by James Dorlin, who previously drove for the team at Imola, while Jordan Witt returns with Barwell for the first time since 2019. VSR will complete its first full season of Fanatec GT Endurance competition with Cola/ Paverud/Moulin taking the #163 Lamborghini and Beretta/Nemoto/Hytes occupying the sister #563 car.
Mercedes-AMG joins Audi and Lamborghini in fielding a five-car Silver Cup contingent for the season finale. HRT’s Al Manar Racing have had their best campaign and can still finish second in the Fanatec GT Endurance Silver Cup standings with the #777 crew of Al Zubair/Jefferies/Schiller. The subsidiary Haupt Racing Team will once again include Fittje/Love/A. Valente in his #4, while GetSpeed will field the #3 Mercedes-AMG for Kingsley/Baud/Eriksen.
Barcelona is a real home event for Madpanda Motorsport, the team is only a few kilometers away from the track. The No. 90 Mercedes-AMG will feature regulars Ezequiel Pérez Campanc and Sean Walkinshaw, along with a third driver to be confirmed, while Akkodis ASP adds its No. 87 for Drouet/Moscow/Stevenson.
Having started the season with a podium finish at Imola, Garage 59 will be hoping to finish the same way with Kjaergaard/Maldonado/Simoni sharing their #159 McLaren. A pair of Porsche teams round out the Silver Cup field for the final, with Allied Racing running the #22 of Fischli/Mathiessen/Stram, while Dinamic Motorsport’s Roda/Nacken/Pedersen fielded the #56.
Inception Racing is aiming for its first Gold Cup title, it’s all up for grabs in the Pro-Am
The winner’s first Gold Cup title is on the cards as Inception Racing took the lead after their second win of the season last time out at Hockenheim. It happened in dramatic fashion when on the final lap a puncture by the leading Herberth Motorsport Porsche allowed the #8 McLaren of Iribe/Millroy/Schandorff to take a vital victory.
The No. 83 Iron Dames Bovy/Gatting/Frey crew takes second place in the deciding tournament. The TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa class winners lost their lead in Hockenheim, but with a nine-point gap, the championship remains within their grasp. Herberth Motorsport maintains a strong potential with the Bohn/A No. 911 crew. Renauer/R. Renauer is 22 points behind. The team championship is identical to the driver classification, making it an all-or-nothing affair.
Another eight teams will compete for the Golden Cup in Barcelona. AGS Events concludes its inaugural Endurance Cup season with the #8 Lamborghini of Kabir/Gomar/Paris. Belgian teams Boutsen Racing and Team WRT will field Audi machinery, with the former running their usual trio of Ojjeh/Lessennes/Eteki in the #10 and Ryuichiro Tomita’s partners brothers Arnold and Maxime Robin in the #33.
Polish team JP Motorsport will run their #112 McLaren for Krupinski/Blazek/Siedler, while the Mercedes-AMG team trio round out the Gold Cup field. Haupt Racing Team had their best finish of the season at Hockenheim, finishing second to Haupt/Scholze/Maini in 5th place, while the #57 Winward Racing team of Liebhauser/Ferrari/Auer is still waiting for a similar result. strong pace they showed this term.
Sky Tempesta Racing enjoyed a promising Fanatec GT Sprint ride in Valencia and will be hoping to carry that form into the Endurance Finale. Jonathan Huey rejoins the #93 line-up alongside regular teammates Chris Froggatt and Eddie Cheever III, completing Barcelona’s Gold Cup grid.
The Pro-Am has everything to play for. Dominik Baumann (#20 SPS Mercedes-AMG) has accumulated the most points, but as a gold-rated driver he cannot win the Pro-Am title alone. The leaders are therefore Louis McIles, Andrea Bertolini and Stefano Costantini (#52 AF Corse Ferrari), who have a 17-point lead at the top of the standings.
With four cars on the Pro-Am entry list, the #52 crew can wrap up the championship by finishing in the race. That would be enough to secure a third Fanatec GT Endurance Pro-Am crown for Machiels, whose previous triumphs came in 2011-2012. Only the #188 Garage 59 McLaren crew can stop them, although the West/Ramos/Chaves line-up should finish first or second in class and hope their rivals run into trouble.
The No. 20 Mercedes-AMG will be driven by Baumann, Valentin Peerburg and Jan Logie, who will aim to secure the teams’ championship for the SPS team. They lead with 104 points, one ahead of AF Corse. In the last car on the grid, Porsche Allied Racing will field their No. 91 for Alex Malikhin and Aykhanjan Guven, rounding out the 49-car field.
Finally, there’s the combined Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Pro-Am titles, which will be contested in Barcelona. AF Corse leads the teams’ standings with 225 points, 22 more than Garage 59. The drivers’ championship is much closer, with Garage 59’s Miguel Ramos five points ahead of Maciels and Bertolini. So it’s entirely possible that three different Pro-Am teams will have the title to celebrate on Sunday night.
GT1 Sports Club returns to the scene of the first outing
The event will feature on-track support events from the Lamborghini Super Trofeo and GT4 European Series, with the latter set to conclude the 2022 season at the Spanish circuit. What’s more, Curbstone Events-based GT1 Sports Club will hold its final event of 2022 at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, a year after the concept debuted at the same venue. Brands set to test their mettle on the 4.7km circuit include Pagani, Lamborghini, Porsche and McLaren, while a selection of cars will be on display in the paddock. Coupled with the main event on Sunday afternoon, it promises to be a very entertaining weekend as the curtain falls on the 2022 season.
The source. SRO Motorsports Group